Samuel Sutphin and his wife Catherine transfered from the Basking Ridge Presbyterian church to
the Liberty Corner church in 1838, the year after it was founded. According to an article
in the Star Ledger:|
Note: These articles spell his name Sutphen, but is clearly entered as "Sutphin" (with an "i")
in the LCPC Membership list
"The life of Samuel Sutphen might qualify as a quintessential American
profile in courage -- if only anyone knew who he was.
A young slave living in Branchburg, Sutphen fought bravely in some of
the most famous battles of the Revolutionary War, spent many nights on
patrol in frozen fields and was injured by gunfire, all for a promise of
freedom if he fought in his master's place and returned to him after the
Though Sutphen lived up to his part of the bargain, freedom would elude
him. Considering him too valuable to be let free, his master, a
Readington tavern owner, reneged on his promise and sold Sutphen to
- Sutphen was sold to Readington tavern owner Casper Berger.
- Agreed to go to war in his (Berger's) stead.
- Battle of Long Island
- Battle of Princeton, where he helped carry an injured officer home.
At the Battle of Millstone, Sutphen led his fellow militiamen in crossing the
freezing, waist-deep Millstone River to defeat a foraging party of British soldiers
- Survived an ambush of 800 Loyalists, Tories and Iroquois Indians near Elmira, N.Y.
- West Point, where a hand-to-hand combat resulted in two shots to his right leg,
an injury that left him scarred and lame for life.
Battle of Monmouth
- At the war's end, Berger renounced his pledge of freedom and instead sold Sutphen to Peter Ten Eyck of North Branch.
- Samuel was sold several more times before he was purchased by Peter Sutphen whose surname he adopted.
Samuel (59) paid for his own freedom with money he earned selling fur and the skins
of rabbits, raccoons and muskrats. Moved his family to the Liberty Corner section
of Bernards Township, bought a 7- acre farm and attended Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church. One reason he moved there was
because of the Pastor, Rev. Robert Finley, a founder of the American Colonization Society,
an organization dedicated to the establishment of a homeland in Africa for freed American slaves.
(Age 87) Begins a battle with the US government over his right to receive a war pension.
After five appeals, and five rejections (the government reasoned that since he was serving for
someone else he was not entitled to a pension), the New Jersey Legislature took matters into
its own hands -- requesting all of Sutphen's pension appeals from Washington and
passing an act "For the Relief of Samuel Sutphen of Somerset."
Samuel and Catherine transfer to Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church.
(Age 95) Died. (May be buried in Liberty Corner Church Cemetery, but register does
not specify. No headstone could be found.)
Membership list in Book I of church registers.
Somerset County Historical Quarterly Vol III
Freedom fighter - Star Ledger Feb. 26, 2003
(The newspaper Links below don't work now, so you will have to find articles in a archive)
New Jersey Heritage Magazine Vol. 1 Num. 1 Winter 2002
Courier News Feb. 26, 2003
History at NJHistoryPartnership.org
Sutphin revolutionary war pension application